The Broadway Hyatt Place is barreling toward its opening, with landscapers and construction workers laboring early and late, and even putting in weekend hours. But judging from the recent mob of pickup trucks, vans and forklifts out front, one can’t help but wonder if the grand opening, set for Friday, Sep. 1 is cutting it a little close.
It is not hard to understand why the developers might want to open Labor Day weekend, after all the time and dollars they’ve poured into the project.
The Santa Cruz City Council first approved the hotel six years ago, partly in hopes that it might help clean up the Lower Ocean neighborhood. And after an exhaustive planning process, hotelier Tejal Sood came back to the City Council three years later, in 2014, to get a design modification approved. Construction on the relatively high-end, 106-room Hyatt first began two and a half years ago.
Sood and another representative from the Bayside Hotel Group, which is opening the new Hyatt, could not be reached for comment. And when GT stopped by the site, Sood—busy going over measurements with contractors—said she couldn’t talk.
Christina Glynn, communications director for Visit Santa Cruz County, says the project is on schedule, though. “They’ve pushed back the opening a couple of times,” Glynn says. “I think they really want to make sure they have everything in place.”
A hotel rep had posted a hiring notice July 1, saying they hoped to have the hotel open in August.
During the 2016 local elections, the Hyatt became a popular target, with some politicos criticizing it as a missed opportunity to build affordable housing—an understandable gripe, but one that comes with the benefit of hindsight. Some neighbors did have grave concerns about the Hyatt before its approval in 2011, but apprehension about the housing crisis was apparently secondary to the notions that the city needed to add higher-end hotel rooms and somehow clean up Ocean and Broadway, which had a larger prostitution presence back then.
Going forward, those who think Santa Cruz already has enough hotels are in for a surprise. A Marriott has begun construction near the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and the City Council approved two more hotels in June.
Even with the rise of Airbnb, which has cut into hotel profits nationwide, the best metrics available show steady demand for hotels in Santa Cruz, Glynn says, with occupancy rates, with Santa Cruz hovering around 80 percent the past three summers and above two thirds year-round.